Who fed Su­san Rice the Beng­hazi line of bull?

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Pat Buchanan

At his re­cent news con­fer­ence, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama pos­tured as the young Gala­had strid­ing out onto the school­yard to stop a pair of bul­lies from beat­ing up a girl.

Sens. John McCain and Lind­sey Gra­ham had charged U.N. Amb. Su­san Rice with mis­lead­ing the na­tion when, five days af­ter the Beng­hazi at­tack in which Amb. Chris Stevens and three other Amer­i­cans were killed, she ap­peared on five TV shows to say it had all re­sulted from a spon­ta­neous re­ac­tion to an anti-Mus­lim video.

Su­san Rice, thun­dered Obama, “made an ap­pear­ance at the re­quest of the White House in which she gave her best un­der­stand­ing of the in­tel­li­gence that had been pro­vided to her.

“If Sen. McCain and Sen. Gra­ham and oth­ers want to go af­ter some­body, they should go af­ter me. ... But for them to go af­ter the U.N. am­bas­sador, who had noth­ing to do with Beng­hazi and was sim­ply mak­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion based on in­tel­li­gence that she had re­ceived, and to besmirch her rep­u­ta­tion is out­ra­geous.”

The in­dig­na­tion here is more than a bit cloy­ing. Af­ter all, Rice’s ren­di­tion of the worst ter­ror at­tack on the U.S. since 9/11 was ut­terly false.

There never was a protest.

Rice mis­led the na­tion. No one now de­nies that. The ques­tion is: Did Rice de­ceive us, or was she her­self mis­led or de­ceived?

Far from be­ing a con­vinc­ing de­fense, Obama’s re­marks call into ques­tion the com­pe­tence or the truth­ful­ness of the White House it­self.

Con­sider again what Obama said.

Su­san Rice “had noth­ing to do with Beng­hazi.”

But if she “had noth­ing to do with Beng­hazi,” why was she sent out “at the re­quest of the White House” to ex­plain Beng­hazi?

Who at the White House pro­grammed Rice? Did she push back at all when fed this bull­hockey about Beng­hazi? Or does she just par­rot the party line when told to do so?

Why did the White House not send Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton, CIA Di­rec­tor David Pe­traeus, De­fense Sec­re­tary Leon Panetta or Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Tom Donilon? Or did they de­cline to go?

The pres­i­dent says Rice “gave her best un­der­stand­ing of the in­tel­li­gence that had been pro­vided to her.”

And who might be the source of that “in­tel­li­gence” about the protest in Beng­hazi, when there was no protest in Beng­hazi?

Rice was scripted to tell the na­tion it was not a “pre­planned” at­tack, when that is ex­actly what it was. The CIA knew it within hours, be­cause two of its former Navy SEALs died in the at­tack, and other CIA peo­ple sur­vived and got out the next morn­ing.

Here we come to the heart of the mat­ter.

Though jour­nal­ists, CIA per­son­nel and State De­part­ment peo­ple lis­ten­ing in real time all knew from in­ter­cepts and re­ports back from our peo­ple on the ground that this was a ter­ror­ist at­tack in­volv­ing au­to­matic weapons, rocket-pro­pelled grenades and mor­tars, the fab­ri­cated story — that it came out of a protest, a protest that never hap­pened — was pushed re­lent­lessly by the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Jay Car­ney pushed it two days af­ter the at­tack. Pe­traeus pushed it on the Hill three days af­ter the at­tack. Rice went on five TV shows five days af­ter the at­tack to re­cite it chap­ter and verse. Obama held off call­ing it a ter­ror at­tack for weeks in TV in­ter­views and men­tioned the video half a dozen times at the U.N. on Sept. 25.

An­other ques­tion arises from the press con­fer­ence.

When Obama said Rice “gave her best un­der­stand­ing of the in­tel­li­gence that had been pro­vided to her,” was that also the best in­tel­li­gence the pres­i­dent of the United States had?

If it is, if five days af­ter the at­tack Obama was that clue­less about what ac­tu­ally hap­pened in Beng­hazi, he ought to clean house at his in­tel­li­gence agen­cies.

From the out­side, it ap­pears ev­ery­body was on board to de­scribe the at­tack as “spon­ta­neous” and at­tribute it to the video.

Yet none of this was true. And many in­side knew, dur­ing or right af­ter the at­tack, the truth about what had hap­pened and were leak­ing it to the press. That brings us to the ques­tion: Why?

Why would the ad­min­is­tra­tion hi­er­ar­chy col­lab­o­rate in putting out a phony story deny­ing there had been a ter­ror­ist at­tack and at­tribut­ing it to a spon­ta­neous riot that never hap­pened? Two an­swers come to mind: One, the “spon­ta­neous protest” cover story would en­able Obama to keep push­ing his cam­paign line that he had got­ten Osama bin Laden and that al-Qaida was “on the run” and “on the path to de­feat.” A suc­cess­ful al-Qaida-type at­tack in Libya would have con­tra­dicted his best for­eign pol­icy claim.

Sec­ond, if it was a spon­ta­neous at­tack, an at­tack no one could have fore­seen, pre­dicted or pre­vented, then that would ab­solve the ad­min­is­tra­tion of re­spon­si­bil­ity for fail­ing to see it coming, fail­ing to pro­vide greater se­cu­rity, fail­ing to have forces pre­pared to deal with it when our guys were be­ing shot and killed for seven hours.

What was be­hind the coverup is what Congress needs to find out. Pa­trick J. Buchanan is the au­thor of “Sui­cide of a Su­per­power: Will Amer­ica Sur­vive to 2025?”

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